Dark and Twisted

There are times in life when the delicious feeling of happiness naturally flows through your veins: your boss thinks you kick-ass, your relationship has a touch of the Beckham’s smugness, you have a group of friends to drink large glasses of wine with, and your next holiday is booked – to somewhere more exotic than Skegness. There may be a few small day-to-day ups and downs, but overall life is good; it’s easy to feel happy.

But there are, inevitably, times when happiness is more elusive, when life throws something nasty your way – and however positive you are – it’s just harder to find your happiness groove. But fear not, I have found the answer!: the ‘dark and twisted’ strategy (I may have to give it a sexier name, when it goes viral).

As my health continues to misbehave at toddler tantrum levels (I don’t want to dwell too much here – it is already commanding way too much attention from me – but let’s just say, I have been out of the apartment for a total of four hours in the last three weeks), my happiness chip, is understandably, experiencing a malfunction.

But with my new ‘dark and twisted’ strategy, I have discovered a way to find my happy, or if not my happy, at least a way of holding onto my sanity: I am playing ‘it could be worse…’; reverse gratitude if you will.

By surrounding myself with dark stories (books, films, television, real life) my desperation is held at bay (well, almost…).

I am reminded, it could be worse: I could be in prison, scared to use the bathrooms, scared to make eye contact, scared to… well, just scared! Or, even worse, I could be a prison guard trapped in a prison, who has to pretend to be an inmate to survive (thank you Spanish film Celda 211).

Or, it could be worse, at least I am not an innocent man who was arrested (more kidnapped really) by the US government and flown to Morocco so I could be ‘legally’ tortured (thank you Rendition).

Or, it could be worse, I am not an alcoholic, drug addict, or homeless; nor did I kill someone whilst drunk (thank you Blackout).

Or (my favourite), it could be worse, at least I am not dead, stuffed into an old well, with rats chewing at my face, and concrete put on top of me (thank you Stephen King).

You get the idea. And actually once you get started, there is just so much dark and twisted out there to choose from (I’m excited just thinking about it!).

Right now, happy clappy, ‘seize the day’, ‘follow your dreams’ type mantras are too painful to hear: yes, I want to be doing those things, but I’m running a slightly more stream-lined operation at the moment: getting through the day. And by focusing on the harshness of life, I am quite simply, stopped from feeling sorry for myself.

It may seem an odd healing choice, but I am finding it a soothing addition to my meditation (Yin and Yang at work?). And by letting in the dark, I can somehow find some light, and find a way to appreciate the small things: our gorgeous apartment (which is pretty much finished now); the beautiful flowers my husband bought me, which bring a sense of life into my small world; our new ‘Zen’ terrace, overlooking the canal, with the swans gliding along in all their elegance; the chilled Sauvignon Blanc in the fridge.

And I am further comforted by knowing, that if things get really bad – and I need some more yin – I can always watch Jeremy Kyle, the darkest of them all…

The Purple Palace!

I MUST be healing in here…

Because I’m WORTH it…

Definitely some yang…

Hope that wine’s cold…

31 thoughts on “Dark and Twisted

      • Stunning, love the colors and texture. i am on the reinvention tour though a broken love relationship. Six months, into it, and
        grasping but breathing deep. Writing has always been my first love, and I return to the pen now with comfort. Wish I was there, in the UK. I’m on home exchange in case you want to trade. listing number 183367.
        Adventure on!

        • Hey LouLou

          A broken heart is never easy to get over – I always seem to end up with wine and chocolate in those situations; writing sounds better for you!

          I hope you emerge from your reinvention ready to take on the world, and maybe with a fabulous new hair-do (that’s what girls do isn’t it?!)

          Thank you for coming by…


  1. Very interesting post Karen– maybe ill look out the Stephen King too ,give it a shot! It helps me to look back on where I’ve come from- even in times of really bad setbacks, I remember I’m not in that horrendous place I was some time ago at my worst.. It’s all relative to where you have come from though.. Neurologist recently reinforced this to me and it finally does make sense.. And yes it’s easy to say on a better day, yet on a bad one- not so simple and the frustration takes over! I hope you improve soon .. Sending positive vibes your way. And on a lighter note- wow your place looks lush! Loving the red and purple, you have an eye for design my dear! Myself and my hubby are also ( or should I say control freak ME) slowly doing up our new home- task and a half but already loving the simple things I have achieved and although as you say at times it feels like I am creating ” my prison” rather than my home, it’s a beautiful one at that! Healthy Happy Thoughts To you xxxx

    • Hi Cara

      Thank you so much for the positive vibes – they’ve just arrived!

      Yes, our refurbishment has been a huge project (I’ve just remembered emptying the bedrooms to get the floors done, and sleeping in the lounge for a week!) but sooooo worth it. I love it here. And being in such a gorgeous environment has made such a difference to the last few weeks.

      Good luck with creating your own palace.

      And thank you for coming by…


  2. There is this idea that you need to walk through hell in order to appreciate the world as it is. In Buddhism you actually meditate on death in order to appreciate life so what you are doing is not unusual or unheard of and works quite well. So, carry on nurse.

    I’m so glad you posted pics of your place. I remember reading all your posts about the renovations. You’ve done a fabulous job with it!

    • Hey lovely…

      This is so interesting – I didn’t know this about Buddhism. And if it’s good enough for the Dalai Lama…!

      I thought I was done with dark to be honest, I thought I’d learnt my lessons on appreciating life – but maybe I hadn’t. Maybe this is another area I need to work on.

      And yes, I’m so happy in our apartment now. It gets all the sun in the morning too, so it’s really light in here – and I love being by the water.

      Hope things are good with you and thank you for sharing… Xx

  3. And it’s not raining – not in the picture anyway. Guess that solace doesn’t last long in England (Australian prejudice speaking)

  4. ohh it IS a beautiful apartment. 🙂 Nice work.

    … i guess this is ‘dark and twisted’ helps explain why, in the middle of my ‘no sensory resting’ (yes I take resting very seriously – sigh) I found myself googling tourism in Syria. I don’t even remember turning the computer on. :/ I guess it’s the sickie equivalent of wandering into the kitchen to make sushi while studying.

    Anyway, add ‘glad to be sick and not in a war zone’ to the list.


    • Oh yes, real life – the darkest of them all! And I’m impressed with your study break food choices; I’m sure mine was more chocolate biscuits than sushi…

      Happy resting (no war zones for you…)

      Love from the Purple Palace! Xx

  5. Hi Karen, nice to ‘meet’ you! I love your energy and warmth – in your blog and in your comments! I’m happy to have clicked on your link! First off – fabulous writing. Secondly – Yin and Yang … It TOTALLY makes sense … Seeing the dark that is out there does indeed remind us of that for which we have to be grateful. So true. And third – lovely space you have created for yourself. XO Anitra

    • Hey Anitra (wonderful name…) thank you for such a lovely comment – feeling all warm and fuzzy!

      Yes, so glad I stumbled across your blog yesterday and got to ‘meet’ you.

      Thank you for coming by, and bringing LOTS of light with you… Xx

  6. hi… lovely place and lovely attitude no matter how you got it…(thanks for cluing me into the fact i really didn’t need to know about all those dark things 😉

    thanks for the ‘like’ too so i could come and meet you… i too have the “darker moments and shut-in-ness” going on. it gets quite old fast…so i know what you mean…this too shall pass just does not cut it. but there are worse things i guess..just sometimes it’s hard to find them. i too seem to find them in the same exact things. interesting.. 😉

    • Hi Linda

      You are just LOVELY – I’m so glad I came across your blog.

      Yes, sometimes it is hard to find them; sometimes we just can’t get past our own challenges – those are the days for hugs, chocolate and maybe a few tears, I reckon!

      Thank you so much for coming by… Xx

  7. Love this post. So honest and a needed change from the said on other personal development blogs for the past few years. I think the yin and yang of life are always going to be with us, and we usually grow the most after a “dark night” with the soul. Sometimes people forget that you have to be at the bottom of the mountain before you can make a climb to the top.

    Beautiful place too!

  8. ok, sorry but… well, maybe some people like them? anyway i am here to inform you, you are the proud beneficiary of an award. Take your pick… No obligations, of course. Just because I care. xox 😉

  9. I can totally relate to finding comfort in the dark and twisted when you’re down. The happy happy joy joy stuff just doesn’t cut it! I actually get strength from the darker stuff. Great post!

    • Hi Michael

      Yeah, you’re so right. It’s like if they can cope with *insert something suitably horrible* I can cope with my small challenges.

      Last night we watched a film about the Congo, now that is a dark place!

      Thank you for coming by…


  10. I love this post. Isn’t it the awful truth that when we focus on happy positive things it keeps us wanting more? I always joke about keeping expectations low but I am going to add dark and twisted to the lexicon. And I love the wallpaper in your bedroom.

    • Ooh yes, like it: gonna lower ALL expectations as of now. Then mix it up with some dark and twisted, and hey… (do you think we have discovered the secret to happiness?!).

      And very excited that someone as cool as RollerGiraffe has been to visit… Xx

  11. Pingback: My First Time | The Reinvention Tour

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